Google Wallet’s road to a ubiquitous mobile payments solution has been a bumpy one. This was thanks in part to carriers trying to impede its progress with their own NFC-based mobile payments system called Softcard. After reports that Softcard was bleeding money, Google swooped in, announcing a partnership that will see Google Wallet coming pre-installed on all Android devices from here on out. Not a bad deal at all.
Echoing Google’s “2 of everything” approach to their products and services, Google is now reportedly gearing up to introduce a new payments API for developers called Android Pay. The new API will be built from the ground up and will allow developers to add a mobile payments option into their app. Users will only have to add their credit/debit card information and can pay for anything within the app with only a single tap. The API will also allow for tap-to-pay transactions in retail stores using Google’s Host Card Emulation (HCE).
According to sources, that doesn’t mean Google Wallet is going anywhere. Android Pay will also support Google Wallet which will continue to exist as a separate entity. This will allow users to link their Google Wallet accounts to any apps already using Android Pay. Likewise, users and companies looking to avoid Google Wallet entirely will finally have that option with Android Pay.
It’s still not clear exactly what Google plans on doing with existing Google Wallet APIs (which allow developers to add a “Buy with Google” button in their apps) but we’re sure to learn more during this year’s Google I/O 2015 in May.